The 10 biggest box office hits ever by Irish filmmakers
The biggest hit by an Irish filmmaker might come as a surprise...
This year, Ireland proved itself as a country of critical and awards darlings with the movie output we've been putting out, but what about the money side of things? 2023 could potentially see one of the biggest hits ever by an Irish director, with Lee Cronin (The Hole In The Ground) delivering Evil Dead Rise to audiences worldwide, which could prove to be absolutely massive.
But before then, here are the biggest movies of all time at the global box office, made by Irish filmmakers. Just missing out on the top ten are Jim Sheridan's 50 Cent biopic Get Rich Or Die Tryin' ($46.4 million worldwide), Oscar magnet The Banshees of Inisherin ($46.6 million and counting), Ciaran Foy's horror sequel Sinister 2 ($54.1 million) and John Crowley's tearjerker Brooklyn ($62.1 million).
And now on to the actual top ten, beginning with...
10. BEGIN AGAIN
Box office: $65.7 million ($8 million budget)
John Carney - perhaps better known in Ireland for directing Once and Sing Street - made this very cute rom-com about a struggling musician (Keira Knightley) and the jaded producer (Mark Ruffalo) who discovers her, with the idea to record the songs in public places all over New York City. Carney could soon have another entry in this list, with his upcoming musical drama Flora And Son, which is already proving to be a big hit on the festival circuit.
9. IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
Box office: $65.8 million ($13 million budget)
Jim Sheridan's seven-time Oscar-nominated true-life drama delivered some powerful performances from Daniel Day Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thompson. Telling the story of a man who is mistaken as being a terrorist, with both he and his father sentenced to life in prison for crimes they didn't commit, it is a tough but powerful watch.
8. THE BRAVE ONE
Box office: $69 million ($70 million budget)
Yep, the eighth biggest box office hit by an Irish director actually ended up losing money. Neil Jordan, in his first appearance on this list, directed this psychological thriller starring Jodie Foster and Terence Howard, in a plot that sounds eerily similar to old school action thriller Death Wish. Foster went on to be nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, despite critics (and most audiences) reacting with a big shrug.
7. THE CRYING GAME
Box office: $71 million ($3 million budget)
Neil Jordan again, this time exploring themes of race, sex, nationality, and sexuality against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. For some, the entire movie may have been boiled down to its (at the time) jaw-dropping twist, but time has also proved the movie to be massively ahead of the curve when it came to telling LGBTQI+ stories.
6. MAX PAYNE
Box office: $85.8 million ($35 million budget)
The first of a surprising amount of entries by Dundalk-born director John Moore, this adaptation of the hit video game series was... look, there is no nice way to put this... it is a terrible, terrible movie. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis headline a cast in a story that should've been a simple enough story of revenge, but got so convoluted and unnecessary complicated that it became a total headache to endure.
5. BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Box office: $91.7 million ($40 million budget)
Another entry for Moore, and his best movie to date (which, to be clear, still doesn't make it a good movie). Attempting to make an action star out of Owen Wilson was the first mistake, but putting him alongside Gene Hackman was a smart move, so it kiiiiiiiiind of balanced out? The fact that the sequels were produced by the WWE should probably tell you everything you need to know.
4. THE OMEN
Box office: $120 million ($25 million budget)
Moore again, this time remaking a classic horror movie. The most memorable thing about it is that the studio pushed really, REALLY hard for the movie to arrive in cinemas on the 6th of June, 2006, just so the poster could have the release date be 6-6-06. Geddit??
3. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Box office: $162.9 million ($15 million budget)
Martin McDonagh's darkly comic drama about a mother (Frances McDormand) who takes matters into her own hands when the local police (headed by Sam Rockwell) get nowhere in finding the person responsible for the violent death of her daughter. This is McDonagh's biggest box office hit to date, with In Bruges making $34.5 million and Seven Psychopaths making $33 million worldwide.
2. INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE
Box office: $223.7 million ($60 million budget)
Neil Jordan again, making a sexy vampire movie with peak-hotness Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. There was no way this wasn't going to be a box office behemoth. Jordan's very next movie was Michael Collins, which was actually a box office flop ($27.5 million on a $25 million production budget), and he hasn't really hit the level of popularity found here again in his career to date.
1. A GOOD DIE TO DIE HARD
Box office: $304.7 million ($92 million budget)
And last but not least... is another John Moore movie, and the very worst Die Hard movie. 15% on Rotten Tomatoes is waaaaay below the rest of the Die Hard series, and this entry effectively tried to set up John McClane Junior (Jai Courtney) step up and replace his dad (Bruce Willis), but, yeah, nobody wanted that. Despite being really, really bad, it was still a relatively decent worldwide box office hit. So... hooray?
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